Mt. PLEASANT — All night long during Friday night’s Region 5-AA opener at Mt. Pleasant, quarterback Ryan Inmon made plays to keep the Cascade Champions (3-0, 1-0) offense in the game.
But when it mattered most, it wasn’t his play on the offensive side of the ball that delivered the Champs their first league win of the season, but rather back-to-back tackles for loss in the closing seconds of the fourth quarter that secured Cascade’s 16-14 win over Mt. Pleasant.
Inmon was the spark plug for the Cascade offense that cranked out 196 yards, with 100 of those yards coming on 23 carries by Inmon.
He also completed 3-of-7 passes for 89 yards as well.
“He’s a heck of a ballplayer. He found another gear. I’ve been waiting for him to hit that other gear for three years. He had to play almost the entire game on quarterback,” Cascade coach Jake Tyre said.
Cascade had to wait nearly six minutes of game time to put its offense on the field as Mt. Pleasant (1-2, 0-1) worked over the course of 71 yards and 5:37 off the clock on the game’s opening drive before Zavier Davidson punched the ball into the end zone from three yards out with 6:23 left in the first frame.
Cascade nearly got off the field early on in the first Tiger drive, but a pass from quarterback Nick Brown to Jeffery Williamson allowed Mt. Pleasant to orchestrate the 12-play scoring drive to open the game.
The Champions answered on the following drive with Inmon firing off a 48-yard pass down the seam to Xamarion Dixon on the first Cascade play from scrimmage.
Four plays later on fourth and long, Inmon dropped a perfectly placed 29-yard pass to Hayden Dowell in the end zone to even the score following Drake Hodge’s kick after.
Following the first Tiger drive of the night, Cascade’s defense bowed up and played a break, don’t bend style through the remainder of the half.
The Mt. Pleasant offense totlaed just 46 yards of offense through the remainder of the half following the first scoring drive of the night.
Cascade, on the other hand, keyed off its defensive effort.
With 10:36 left in the half, Kobe Inmon came up with a sack on fourth down set the Champs up on the 46-yard line.
Cascade needed just seven plays from the Inmon sack to take the lead on a Connor Huie three-yard slice into the end zone.
Hodge’s kick after put Cascade up 14-7 with 6:44 left in the half.
After Hodge’s kickoff hit the end zone, the Tigers were set up on first and 10 from their own 20.
Cascade followed with three-straight negative plays that ended with a combined tackle in the end zone by Sawyer Lovvorn and Jake Bates to award the Champs a safety with 5:09 left in the half.
As well as things were going for Cascade at the close of the first half, offense became an absolute struggle in the second half.
Three plays into the third frame, Cascade fumbled the ball into the Tigers’ hands, which set up the second Mt. Pleasant touchdown of the night—a 36-yard touchdown pass from Brown to Demarkus Brown.
Following the Brown-to-Brown pass, both offenses struggled to regain their consistency, which continued into the fourth quarter.
Disaster nearly struck for the Champs on the first drive of the fourth quarter as back-to-back losses of 13 and 12 yards backed Cascade up to its own one-yard line.
Inmon dug the Champs out of the hole with a nine-yard run to the 10-yard line.
After a three and out on the next Tiger possession, Cascade churned out seven-straight run plays that chewed up nearly four minutes of the clock.
Following a Cascade punt, Mt. Pleasant took possession on its own 17-yard line and pushed the ball nearly to mi-dfield, but on third and short, it was Inmon who burst his way into the backfield and recorded back-to-back tackles for loss, totaling 15 yards of real estate, to seal the win for Cascade.
Even with all the adversity, Tyre said the resiliency of his team being able to overcome the second-half struggles was great to see from his young squad.
“They’re tough. That’s one thing before the season I was worried about is if we going to have the toughness to overcome the adversity because we’re so young. But man, we overcame tonight. The few seniors I have led tonight and it was awesome to watch,” he said.
The Champion defense had its handful defending a Mt. Pleasant offense that showed the ability to move the chains both through the air and via the option on the ground.
“They have players all over the place. We worked on it all week,” Tyre said.
In total, Mt. Pleasant totaled 105 yards on the ground, with Brown completing just 7-of-21 passes for 90 yards.
Cascade finished the game with 196 total offensive yards, 100 of which belonged to Inmon on the ground.
Following the win, an exhausted Inmon said he left it all on the field for the Champions.
“I was going a little crazy. I was just playing my heart out. I gave everything to my team,” he said.
The win gives the Champs their first 3-0 start since the 2013 season and puts Cascade in control of Region 5-AA.
“We’re in the driver’s seat now. We control our destiny. We’re not waiting for someone else like we have in years’ past. They want to win and they want to play hard. That’s all I can ask for,” Tyre said.
Cascade joins Forrest and Loretto in the win column who both won their region openers on Friday night.
The Champions will return to the Stable on Friday and host non-district foe Huntland.
Cascade 7 9 0 0 — 16
Mt. Pleasant 7 0 7 0 — 14
M — Zavier Davidson 3 run, (Jackson Collier kick), 6:23.
C — Hayden Dowell 29 pass from Ryan Inmon, (Drake Hodge kick), 3:51.
C — Conner Huie 3 run, (Hodge kick), 6:44.
C — safety, 5:09.
M — Demarkus Brown 36 pass from Nick Brown, (Collier kick), 7:10.